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  • The top sports stars get there with a lot of coaching -

  • not just physical but also psychological.

  • I work with sports people all the time,

  • and here are a few secrets from the world of sports psychology.

  • And it turns out, these tricks are equally relevant in everyday life.

  • So next time you feel really nervous, try this.

  • It might sound a bit strange, but I promise you it works.

  • Tell yourself: “I am not nervous, I am excited!”

  • Why does this work?

  • Well, we all get anxious and nervous at times -

  • totally normal.

  • The tendency of course is to tell yourself to calm down.

  • Sounds like a good idea,

  • but having butterflies in your stomach,

  • and that sense of anxiety, is just so far removed

  • from a state of calm, your body just won't buy it.

  • Reframing anxiety as excitement

  • works because both are states of high arousal.

  • But while anxiety is negative and will hamper your performance -

  • you literally feel under threat -

  • excitement is an emotion that will help you feel positive

  • and look forward to the challenge.

  • In the words of Britain's most decorated Olympian -

  • with six gold medals - track cyclist Sir Chris Hoy:

  • All athletes learn how to take care of themselves.

  • But as important as taking care of yourself

  • is learning to let others support you along the way.

  • In 2019, Kenyan long-distance runner Eliud Kipchoge

  • broke the two-hour marathon record. But, he didn't do it on his own.

  • On the day of the event, he had help from 41 pacemakers,

  • and of course the support

  • of thousands of people who came along to cheer.

  • Kipchoge asked for the general public to be there

  • because he knew he could run better with their support.

  • Who can you ask to support you in your everyday life?

  • There is no shame in getting help

  • when you're trying to achieve something difficult.

  • Asking for support is a sign of strength,

  • and positive support is priceless.

  • Many of the world's top athletes

  • use visualisation techniques before a big event -

  • they're mentally rehearsing it in their minds.

  • This can increase motivation, build confidence

  • and improve your performance.

  • The more realistic this visualisation and preparation is,

  • the more successful it will be.

  • Athletes will think about the sounds they might hear - like the crowd.

  • What they might smell - like freshly cut grass.

  • And imagine what they are going to see.

  • And how they might feel.

  • Runners might visualise difficult parts of their race.

  • Before becoming the fastest British woman in recorded history,

  • Dina Asher-Smith had already raced - and won - multiple times in her mind.

  • She said:

  • So next time you have something to prepare for -

  • like a job interview or an exam -

  • visualise exactly how you would like it to go.

  • Think about what you expect to see,

  • to smell, to hear and how it will make you feel.

  • Identify any mental challenges and how you could overcome these.

  • So that when you come to do it for real, you are fully prepared.

  • Negative thoughts reduce confidence.

  • This happens to everyone - even the greatest athletes.

  • But they have learned techniques to overcome them.

  • One technique is called self-talk - literally talking to yourself.

  • This can have a surprising effect on your performance.

  • Top athletes will often be heard saying,

  • You got this."

  • "I can do this.”

  • It helps them to control anxiety,

  • to build their confidence and to provide focus.

  • Muhammad Ali, often considered the greatest boxer of all time,

  • was famous for saying:

  • But interestingly, he admitted repeatedly saying this phrase

  • to himself long before he became successful.

  • You don't need to say much. Use small phrases like:

  • You are ready.” “You are good at this.”

  • So, next time your brain tells you you can't do something,

  • just think of Muhammad Ali and tell yourself:

The top sports stars get there with a lot of coaching -

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Four secrets from sports psychology you can use in everyday life | BBC Ideas

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    Summer posted on 2020/08/07
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